The lion is a very diverse symbol. Its most common traits are: majesty, strength, courage, justice, and military might. It can be both solar and lunar. Commonly reffered to as "the KING of the beasts," it is a symbol of Kingly power and might, but as the lioness it is commonly related to the Great Mother and protection. In a Christian context, the lion can be the power and might of Christ, or the open maw of Satan. Greek myth links this beast to Heracles and his epic wrestling match with a supernatural lion, which no earthly weapon could harm. In this context the lion is death, beaten by the solar hero. After killing the lion with his bare HANDS, Heracles wore its skin as a sort of ARMOR.

As the opposite of the EAGLE, the lion can represent earth, as the presider over many floods he can represent fertility, and as a hellish beast he can represent the underworld. Relates to almost any proud, courageous characteristic. In psychology, the wild lion is the type of the latent passions, the dangers of the Unconscious. The parts of the lion carry different symbolism as well: carcase - connected with honey; head - care and vigilance; tooth - eternal and indestructable, Yeats; winged - fire.

Related Terms: SUN, GOLD

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